New contract for Spa will protect orchestra

Spa handover'Cllr David Chance ,right, hands over the Spa to Sheffield International Venues chief executive Steve Brailey MBE,second from right, watched by members of the Spa team and Spa Orchestra.'Picture by Neil Silk  124012'03/10/12
Spa handover'Cllr David Chance ,right, hands over the Spa to Sheffield International Venues chief executive Steve Brailey MBE,second from right, watched by members of the Spa team and Spa Orchestra.'Picture by Neil Silk 124012'03/10/12
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The management of Scarborough Spa has been handed over to a Sheffield company, which has pledged to keep and support the 100-year-old Spa Orchestra.

Staff from Sheffield International Venues and Spa Orchestra members gathered at the venue yesterday to officially launch the management contract.

Chief executive Steve Brailey said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be the new managers of the Scarborough Spa and hope our involvement over the coming months and years will lead to an improved future for the Spa as well as the people of Scarborough.

“We want to reassure people that we are looking at increasing participation and attendances at the venue, boosting the economic impact for Scarborough and enhancing its profile in the region and beyond.

“That includes working with the Spa Orchestra to allow even more people to hear them play.

“There are some fantastic, dedicated people working here and we look forward to forming positive relationships with them and new and existing customers.”

Paul Laidlaw, musical director of The Spa Orchestra, said: “I am delighted that Sheffield International Venues recognise the value of the Spa Orchestra and we are looking forward to working with them to realise the full potential of this unique jewel in Scarborough’s crown.”

The leisure services provider, which runs 19 venues in Sheffield including Sheffield City Hall, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and Don Valley Stadium, joined forces with the Spa after owners Scarborough Borough Council decided to replace its management with a private operator.

The company has now entered into a 10 year agreement with Scarborough Borough Council to run the Spa, Whitby Pavilion and the Scarborough Spa Cliff Lift on a 50/50 profit share basis.

In the first year of the partnership, Scarborough Council and SIV have pledged to invest more than £700,000 in refurbishment work at the two venues.

SIV has already positioned experienced manager Helen Broadbent as general manager. Helen has more than nine years experience of running high profile, much loved venues including Ponds Forge International Sports Centre and York Barbican Centre.

The company has pledged to grow the business through investment in the programme of both venues, while maintaining community use and strengthening links with the many community groups who already use the venues.

Chief executive Steve Brailey told The Scarborough News he has worked in a number of seaside venues - including Blackpool Tower - and was looking forward to getting started in Scarborough.

He said: “I understand how important a venue like the Spa or Whitby Pavilion is, both in the summer season and out of season.

“We saw the opportunity about two or three years ago.

“The excitement has really grown over the last couple of years.

“We’re in it for the long term and there are hundreds of things we’d like to do, but we need to prioritise.”

Scarborough Borough Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for tourism and culture, Cllr David Chance, said: “I believe by doing what we’ve done, we’ve protected the Spa for the next 10 years.

“There will be a great deal of investment and we will see a greater depth in programming.”